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How To Find Balance When Your World Is Spinning

Posted By: Bryan Boorman

Do you sometimes get dizzy for no ‘apparent’ reason?  Did you know it could be due to an injury to your inner ear?  The technical term for this is a vestibular system injury.  The vestibular system provides information to your brain about the movement and position of your head. The vestibular system is located on both sides of the head, in the inner ear, and is considered the ‘balance center’ of the body. Vestibular therapy is aimed at restoring optimal function for individuals with dysfunction or injury in this system.

Here are some images we found online to help describe the vestibular system.

Common symptoms associated with vestibular dysfunction include dizziness, vertigo, and disequilibrium or imbalance.  Although vertigo is a type of dizziness, it is unique from other types of dizziness because it causes the person to feel that their surroundings are moving, usually in a spinning direction.

The most common cause of vertigo is a condition called “BPPV”, which stands for Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo. This problem occurs when crystals in the inner ear migrate into a canal where they are not supposed to be. The result can be vertigo.

BPPV has unique identifying characteristics: the vertigo occurs when the head is in certain positions, and typically only lasts for 10 to 15 seconds at a time. A common example is: “I lay down in bed on my side and for a few seconds it feels as though the room spins around in circles”.

In addition to the symptom of vertigo, individuals with BPPV will often report other symptoms such as feeling “a little bit dizzy”, or “off”, or “in a fog”, with movement of their head during normal daily activities.

Good News! BPPV is easy to diagnose and responds very quickly to treatment when performed properly by a therapist trained in vestibular rehabilitation. Usually only one or two treatments are required to make the vertigo stop, and the other associated symptoms will generally resolve within days or a couple of weeks afterward.

If you have symptoms of BPPV, contact Pursuit Physiotherapy to see Bryan Boorman, vestibular physiotherapist. The sooner you get in to have the diagnosis confirmed and get the appropriate treatment, the more quickly you will feel like yourself again!

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